Navigating Business Immigration | February 2024

Topia’s Immigration News & Solutions Roundup - February 2024

Welcome to the fifth installment of 'Navigating Business Immigration,' our series featuring the latest global developments in business immigration, from visa program updates and policy changes to the evolving immigration landscape. Join our in-house immigration experts as they report on immigration updates and how Topia’s products and solutions reflect these new changes.

China: Visa Exemptions for Hainan Province Now Available for Nationals of Many Countries

Effective February 9, 2024, nationals of many countries can enter Hainan Province without a visa for stays of up to 30 days for various purposes, including allowable business activities, visits, exchange, family reunions, medical treatment, attending exhibitions, and participating in sporting events. Study and activities considered work are not permitted without the appropriate visa or permit. Eligible foreign nationals can enter Hainan Province via any port in the province and must remain in the province throughout their stay. 

The countries whose nationals are eligible for the visa exemption are Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

How has Topia addressed this in its immigration solutions?

In our pre-travel risk assessment solution, we added a notation for these nationals when the outcome is “Business Visa Required”, indicating that an exceptional visa exemption applies if they are entering Hainan Province for business or other approved purposes.

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Japan: Digital Nomad Visa to Launch in March

Reports indicate that Japan will introduce a digital nomad visa at the end of March 2024. The visa will enable visitors from certain countries to work remotely from anywhere in Japan for up to six months, with the option to renew for another six months, after a six-month absence from the country. Applicants will need to earn at least USD 68,300 per year and hold private health insurance. Foreign nationals from over 45 countries, including the US, that have a tax treaty with Japan and are visa-waived will be eligible to apply. The digital nomad visa will fall under the "specified activities" visa category. The application process and fee are yet to be announced.

How has Topia addressed this in its immigration solutions?

We added a brief summary about the upcoming digital nomad visa to the Work Permit Types section of the country summary for Japan in our Global Immigration Library. 

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Philippines: Alien Employment Permit Applications Can Now be Filed While Foreign Nationals are Abroad

The Philippines has recently introduced the practice of accepting and processing Alien Employment Permit (AEP) applications for foreign nationals who have not yet entered the Philippines. These are called “advance AEP applications.” Historically, applicants had to be in the Philippines for AEP applications to be filed on their behalf, with few exceptions. The advance AEP filings are available to all foreign nationals intending to come to the Philippines for employment. Document requirements remain the same except that a request letter indicating that the foreign national is still abroad must be included, and a copy of the latest admission stamp must be submitted within 30 days of the foreign national’s arrival. Electronic signatures will be accepted until the applicant has entered the country.

How has Topia addressed this in its immigration solutions?

In the Philippines country summary in our Global Immigration Library, we deleted the Red Flag stating that foreign nationals had to be in the Philippines to file work authorization applications and added a note to the Work Permit Process section stating that entering the Philippines first is no longer required for AEP applications.  

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United Kingdom: Sponsor License Renewal No Longer Required

The UK Home Office recently announced that as of April 6, 2024, employers of foreign nationals will no longer be required to renew their sponsor licenses. A “sponsor license” is an authorization to hire foreign workers that an entity must apply for before filing a work permit application. Historically, a license was valid for four years and had to be renewed before the expiration date. The Home Office has now automatically extended sponsor licenses expiring on or after April 6 for 10 more years and will no longer require license renewal. Those with licenses expiring before April 6 are still required to renew their licenses and pay the renewal fee. 

How has Topia addressed this in its immigration solutions?

We added a notation about the change where we reference sponsor licenses in the Work Permit Types section of the country summary for the UK in our Global Immigration Library.

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Topia’s Solutions for Immigration

 Global Immigration Library

Topia’s Global Immigration Library provides instant access to the most up-to-date domestic and global immigration information for almost 80 countries. This includes allowable business visitor activities, common work permit types and process steps, maximum durations of stay for both visitors and workers, and average visa and work permit processing times. The data that powers the library is provided by a network of the world’s top immigration experts. Learn more here.

Visa & Travel Risk Management

Topia’s visa and travel risk management tool allows business travelers and remote workers to perform their own pre-travel immigration assessments in real-time. The tool helps employees understand exactly which documents they will require to enter a country based on their nationality, duration of stay, and activities, i.e. a work permit, a business visa, an electronic travel authorization, or just a passport. Learn more here.

Topia’s immigration solutions enable assignees, remote workers, business travelers and their employers to stay compliant with global immigration requirements and to prepare for their immigration processes.

Want to know more about Topia’s immigration solutions? Reach out to to find out more.